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Trump Unleashes Barrage of Attacks on E. Jean Carroll Amid Defamation Trial

Donald Trump is not handling any of this well.

Donald Trump
Jefferson Siegel/Pool/Getty Images

Someone is attacking E. Jean Carroll on Donald Trump’s Truth Social account—but it’s not the former president, who on Tuesday sat in a New York courtroom to face trial for defamation.

Trump entered the courtroom at about 9:42 a.m., according to multiple reporters on scene. Electronics were prohibited in the courtroom, so Trump could not have been on his phone.

But Trump’s social media account made 30 posts attacking Carroll and then re-shared two of those posts. The attacks began at 8:56 a.m. and continued until about 10 a.m. Trump could have scheduled most of the posts, but re-sharing something must be done manually, meaning Trump got someone else to keep up his diatribe.

Trump’s account shared media interview clips and social media posts that appear to come from Carroll, all stripped of context so as to paint her as some sort of sexual deviant. He also falsely claimed that President Joe Biden has pushed the lawsuit, that the co-founder of LinkedIn is paying Carroll’s legal fees, and that presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan and Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan (no relation) are Democratic operatives.

This isn’t the first time Trump has gone after Carroll in this fashion. Two weeks ago, he went on a similar posting spree trying to discredit the writer. In fact, his Tuesday posts include some of the same video and text clips.

Trump did not appear at his first trial against Carroll in May. But this time around, not only is he in the courtroom, he may even testify—although that will have to wait until January 22. But Judge Kaplan set a long list of restrictions on what Trump and his lawyers can say, and Trump’s most recent social media rant violates most of those rules.

Team Trump is barred from pushing conspiracies about Carroll’s lawyer or who might be paying her legal fees. They are prohibited from making comments about her “past romantic relationships, sexual disposition, and prior sexual experiences,” and they cannot argue that Trump did not sexually abuse Carroll or act with actual malice when making his comments about her. Kaplan has also ruled that Trump can’t argue he didn’t rape Carroll, because he was technically found to have done so.

In May, a jury unanimously found Trump liable for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. He was ordered to pay her $5 million in damages.

Kaplan ruled in September that since Trump has already been found liable for sexual abuse, his 2019 comments are by default defamatory. Tuesday’s trial is to set damages, and Carroll is seeking at least $10 million.

Donald Trump May Have Won Iowa—but He Just Lost a Slew of Lawyers

Trump has lost an impressive number of lawyers in one day.

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Despite his overwhelming popularity at the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump can’t seem to keep a grip on his legal representation.

On Monday, one of the GOP front-runner’s star attorneys, Joe Tacopina, filed a declaration to withdraw his firm from two of Trump’s upcoming legal battles: his hush-money criminal trial in Manhattan and the E. Jean Carroll defamation case, which Trump has been desperately trying to appeal since being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation.

“I respectfully submit this Declaration in support of [law firm Tacopina Seigel and DeOreo’s] motion, made pursuant to Local Civil Rule 27.1, to withdraw as counsel (including TSD attorneys Joseph Tacopina, Chad D. Seigel and Matthew G. DeOreo) for Trump, with such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper,” Tacopina wrote in the legal filing, effectively pulling three of Trump’s attorneys in one fell swoop.

It’s not clear why Tacopina decided to withdraw, though the decision comes during a year of extreme legal uncertainty for Trump, who is on the line for 91 criminal charges in four separate legal cases—34 of which stem from the hush-money case, in which Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. That trial is set to begin in late March.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the cases against him.

When asked for comment, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung did not acknowledge the recusal of Tacopina’s firm but instead slammed Trump’s upcoming legal challenges as partisan efforts to keep Trump away from the White House, reported The New York Times.

Trump “has the most experienced, qualified, disciplined, and overall strongest legal team ever assembled,” Cheung claimed, according to the outlet.

“A lawyer might attempt to withdraw as counsel of record for a client in a pending case for a number of reasons,” former federal prosecutor Michael McAuliffe told Newsweek.

“The attorney-client relationship might have suffered a fundamental breach of confidence, running in either or both directions. A strong-willed client who thinks he or she is more of a lawyer than the actual lawyer can create an untenable scenario for that lawyer to continue representing the client’s interests,” McAuliffe said, adding that there’s a chance the court may require Tacopina to identify a legal or factual basis to withdraw from representing the former president.

Rapist Republican Front-Runner Heads Straight to Court After Iowa Win

Donald Trump is back in the courtroom for another legal trial, fresh off his victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Trump at the New York state Supreme Court

Just hours after Iowa Republican voters cemented his status as the party’s front-runner, Donald Trump headed to New York on Tuesday to face the music for sexually assaulting and then defaming E. Jean Carroll.

Trump swept Iowa Monday night with 51 percent of the votes, the largest margin of victory since the state began holding Republican caucuses. The win established him more firmly than ever as the front-runner for the party’s nomination and set him up for another success at the New Hampshire primary next week.

But first, Trump has to face Carroll in New York. Trump is on trial for comments he made in 2019, when he said Carroll accused him of raping her just to promote her memoir. Presiding Judge Lewis Kaplan has already determined the former president is liable for defamation, so the trial is primarily to set damages.

Trump did not appear at his first trial against Carroll in May. But this time around, he is in the courtroom and may even testify—although that will have to wait until January 22, the day before the New Hampshire primary. (Trump isn’t required to attend, and he certainly isn’t required to testify.)

There are strict limitations on what Trump can and cannot say if he does take the stand. Kaplan issued an order last week barring Trump and his lawyers from pushing conspiracies about Carroll’s lawyer or who might be paying the writer’s legal fees. They are prohibited from making comments “concerning Ms. Carroll’s past romantic relationships, sexual disposition, and prior sexual experiences,” and they cannot argue that Trump did not sexually abuse Carroll or act with actual malice when making his comments about her.

Kaplan has also ruled that Trump can’t argue he didn’t rape Carroll. Although Trump was found liable for sexual abuse, Kaplan has repeatedly stated that Trump “‘raped’ her as many people commonly understand the word ‘rape.’”

In other words, a federal judge has recognized that Trump is a rapist.

Trump has already shown he is unwilling to listen to judges’ rules after he went on a courtroom rant on the last day of his financial fraud trial in New York. So there is no guarantee he’ll stick to Kaplan’s ruling if allowed to testify against Carroll.

In May, a jury unanimously found Trump liable for sexual abuse and battery against Carroll in the mid-1990s and for defaming her in 2022 while denying the assault. He was ordered to pay her $5 million in damages.

Kaplan ruled in September that since Trump has already been found liable for sexual abuse, his 2019 comments are by default defamatory. Carroll is now seeking at least $10 million in damages.

Kansas Legislators to Kansas Voters: You Spoke Loud and Clear, and We Don’t Care

Kansas Republicans are bringing back their scheme to overturn voters on abortion.

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Republican lawmakers in Kansas want to make sure you know they don’t care about the will of the voters. State representatives have introduced a bill completely banning abortion, despite Kansans voting less than two years ago to keep protections for the procedure in the state constitution.

House Bill 2492 was introduced Wednesday by eight Republican state representatives, seven of whom are men. The measure would ban all abortions except those necessary to save the patient’s life.

The bill bans prescribing, distributing, selling, or donating abortion medication. Anyone who helps someone get an abortion could face civil proceedings, while doctors who perform abortions would face a minimum fine of $10,000 per procedure.

The measure flies directly in the face of the will of the voters, as noted by Amber Sellers, the advocacy director of Trust Women, a pro-abortion nonprofit in Wichita, Kansas. “Kansans spoke—loudly—on the issue,” Sellers told the Kansas Reflector. “It’s time for anti-abortion lawmakers to wake up, remember and finally listen to the message that voters continue to send.”

In August 2022, less than two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Kansans voted overwhelmingly to keep language in the state constitution protecting the right to abortion. The vote proved to be a bellwether, with multiple states voting to increase abortion protections since.

But that didn’t stop Kansas Republican lawmakers from trying to circumvent the will of the people. The Sunflower State GOP has tried to pass a bill that would let local governments of individual towns and cities ban abortion, as well as a bill that would force doctors to lie to their patients about abortion medication. Both measures were ultimately unsuccessful.

And just as the Kansas vote turned out to be an indicator of what voters wanted nationwide, so too have Republicans in other states followed the Kansas GOP’s model. Most recently, Ohio residents voted in November to enshrine abortion protections in the state constitution. Ohio Republican lawmakers immediately set about finding ways to enact legislation that would undermine the results.

If the Kansas bill passes the state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, it will likely be vetoed by Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. The GOP does have a large enough majority to override Kelly’s veto, but the abortion ban is unlikely to survive a legal challenge. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the Kansas constitution protects abortion rights, meaning the bill violates those rights.

The Stable Genius Trump Just Got Hammered to the Tune of $400,000

Donald Trump has suffered another legal blow, this time over his lawsuit against the The New York Times.

A New York state judge on Friday ordered Donald Trump to pay The New York Times almost $400,000 in legal fees for a lawsuit he brought against the paper in 2021.

Trump accused the paper and three Times reporters of conspiring with his niece Mary Trump, who has contributed to The New Republic, in an “insidious plot” to illicitly obtain his tax records. The Times published a series of stories on Trump’s taxes in 2018 that revealed the president wasn’t the self-made billionaire he claimed he was. In fact, most of his wealth came from his parents or from dodging taxes, as his businesses continued to bleed money elsewhere.

State Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed dismissed Trump’s case in May, writing in his ruling that Trump’s claims “fail as a matter of constitutional law.”

Reed issued another ruling on Friday ordering Trump to pay the paper and the reporters Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russ Buettner a total of $392,638.69 in legal fees.

Trump made waves by refusing to release his tax returns when he first ran for president in 2016, which is not required but is precedent. He then actually brought more attention to his taxes by continually refusing to release the documents to the public or at the very least to Congress.

The House Ways and Means Committee finally obtained six years’ worth of the former president’s tax returns in late November 2022. After first reviewing the documents behind closed doors, the committee released Trump’s tax returns. The documents revealed Trump listed large charitable donations, millions of dollars in goods sold, and massive financial losses each year to avoid paying taxes.

Trump Must Return Millions He Got From Foreign Governments, Democrats Say

Democrats are tearing into Donald Trump for his violation of the Constitution.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Representative Jamie Raskin demanded Friday that Donald Trump return the nearly $8 million he was paid by foreign governments while he was president.

A report released last week by House Oversight Committee Democrats found that Trump made more than $7.8 million during his first two years in office. He did not ask Congress for permission to keep the money, as is required by the Constitution.

“I write today to demand that you immediately return to the American people the $7,886,072 that we know you have accepted from foreign governments,” Raskin said in a letter to Trump.

The Maryland Democrat noted that the report findings were likely incomplete, as it covers just half of Trump’s presidency and transactions at just four of his more than 500 businesses.

“I also demand that you give Congress a full accounting of the money, benefits and other emoluments ‘of any kind whatever’ you pocketed from foreign governments or their agents during your term as President and that you return the total sum of these foreign emoluments,” Raskin said in his letter.

“Your acceptance of foreign emoluments while in office was a stunning violation of the U.S. Constitution—and a profound betrayal of the interests of the United States and the trust of the American people.”

The money came from some of the “world’s most unsavory regimes,” according to the report, and Trump never asked for congressional approval to keep the funds, as mandated by the Constitution. The countries included China—which gave Trump $5.5 million, the largest sum listed in the report—Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Hungary.

Trump isn’t even trying to hide the fact that he received payments from foreign governments. In a Fox News town hall Wednesday night, Trump dismissed the amount as “a small amount of money.”

He then justified the fact that he received foreign payments by arguing he was “doing services for them.”

“People were staying in these massive hotels, these beautiful hotels,” Trump said. “I don’t get $8 million for doing nothing.”

Here’s Who Qualifies for the New Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

Biden has announced a new round of student loan forgiveness for some Americans.

Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News/Getty Images

Joe Biden announced Friday that federal student debt will be wiped out for millions of people, despite previous conservative attempts to stop him.

The Biden administration unveiled the Saving on a Valuable Education plan in August. The SAVE plan reduces millions of borrowers’ monthly payments based on their income and family size. The plan also caps interest accrual and forgives remaining balances after a certain number of years.

The new round of student loan forgiveness under the SAVE plan applies to borrowers who took out less than $12,000 in federal loans and have been paying off their balances for at least 10 years. They will have their remaining debt canceled in February.

This move, which comes nearly six months ahead of schedule, “will particularly help community college borrowers, low-income borrowers, and those struggling to repay their loans,” Biden said in a statement.

About 30 million people are eligible for the SAVE plan, but Biden said in his statement that just 6.9 million are currently enrolled. He did not give details on how many borrowers will see immediate benefits from the upcoming cancellations.

Biden has repeatedly pushed for increased student debt cancellation, despite pushback from conservatives. But the president has refused to give up: In July, his administration announced it was forgiving $39 billion in student debt.

The Biden administration counted payments for borrowers who had made partial or late payments, and for people who had paused their payments under certain circumstances, for instance if they were a student or unemployed, but continued to pay the interest. These types of payments previously went uncounted, according to the government.

Biden had originally proposed a plan to cancel up to $20,000 of student debt for up to 43 million people. But the ultraconservative Supreme Court ruled 6–3 against his plan in June.

Biden’s Airstrikes on Yemen Draw Outrage From Democrats and Republicans Alike

Lawmakers you would never expect are joining forces after Biden’s bombing of Yemen.

Joe Biden
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Members of Congress are expressing their displeasure with Joe Biden for launching airstrikes in Yemen, a move that has achieved the rare effect of uniting many Republicans and Democrats.

The United States and the U.K. bombed 16 different sites in Yemen Thursday night, hitting more than 60 targets, in a retaliatory strike against the Houthis. The strikes were meant to pressure the Houthis to stop blocking commercial ships in the Red Sea, a campaign it began over growing frustration with Israel’s war on Gaza.

Members of Congress across the political spectrum expressed frustration late into the night that Biden gave them just a few hours’ notice before authorizing the strikes. Democratic Representative Ro Khanna was one of the first to state his outrage, writing on X (formerly Twitter) that presidents do not have unilateral authority to launch military strikes unless the country is under attack.

Khanna also retweeted former Republican Representative Justin Amash, who explained that the War Powers Act only allows the president to involve the U.S. military in overseas hostilities if the country is already at war or is currently under attack, or if the president got special approval. Otherwise, Congress must be notified 48 hours in advance.

Republican Representatives Matt Gaetz, Anna Paulina Luna, and Thomas Massie, as well as Senator Mike Lee, were quick to back Khanna up on his point. All four Republicans stressed that Congress should have been given more advance notice.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene slammed Biden for authorizing the airstrike without congressional approval, though she also slammed him for multiple other issues. The Georgia Republican accused him of becoming a warmonger by supporting conflict in Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and now the Middle East.

Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, accused Biden of violating the Constitution. “The American people are tired of endless war,” she wrote on X.

In a shocking display of unity, Massie backed her up in the comments against people arguing on Biden’s behalf.

Democratic Representatives Cori Bush and Summer Lee warned against involving the U.S. in more “endless wars,” alongside expressing their displeasure that Biden hadn’t notified Congress 48 hours in advance. Representative Pramila Jayapal called it “an “unacceptable violation of the Constitution.”

Representatives Sarah Jacobs and Barbara Lee, both California Democrats, were worried that the airstrikes could escalate into something much greater.

Many other lawmakers, again both Democrats and Republicans, also made an unlikely alliance in backing Biden’s decision to order the airstrikes. House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bombing “overdue.” Democratic Representatives Ruben Gallego and Seth Moulton praised Biden for standing up to “terrorism” overseas.

Trump Launches Into Berserk Tirade in Fraud Trial—as Judge Tells Him to Shut Up

Donald Trump launched into a deranged rant at the end of his bank fraud trial.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Donald Trump on Thursday burst into a rant, which he reportedly spent days practicing, during the last day of his civil fraud trial.

Trump had wanted to present his own closing arguments, which the presiding judge, Arthur Engoron, said he could do so long as the former president abided by a strict set of rules about what he could actually discuss. This included sticking to the matter at hand instead of giving “a campaign speech” and not attacking New York Attorney General Letitia James or the courtroom staff. When Trump’s lawyers refused to agree, Engoron barred Trump from speaking, a move that Trump called “MEAN & NASTY” on TruthSocial.

During the trial, Trump’s lawyer asked if his client could address the court. Engoron asked if Trump would keep his comments to the facts and evidence at hand, which Trump apparently took as a green light to go right ahead.

“This is a political witch hunt, and that should be set aside,” Trump cut in. “We should receive damages for what we went through.”

“This is a fraud on me,” he continued to rave. “What’s happened here, sir, is a fraud on me.”

“We have a situation where I’m an innocent man. I’ve been persecuted by somebody running for office, and I think you have to go outside the bounds.”

There is no evidence linking President Joe Biden to the lawsuit. New York’s attorney general sued Trump for fraud.

Trump complained for several minutes about the trial and legal proceedings. He even claimed he had spoken with an insurance executive from Zurich who said they hadn’t been defrauded by Trump.

Trump also insisted he had never had a problem, but Engoron interjected to point out that Trump has been sued before.

“Isn’t that a problem?” Engoron asked.

The judge eventually told Trump’s lawyers to “control your client.”

Trump requested earlier this week to deliver his own closing arguments. He apparently spent days rehearsing an appropriately aggrieved and biting speech, Rolling Stone reported Thursday, citing anonymous sources. Clearly, Trump wasn’t about to let Engoron’s decision stop him from getting his moment in the spotlight.

James accused Trump, his sons Don Jr. and Eric, the Trump Organization, and other company executives of fraudulently inflating the value of various real estate assets to get more favorable terms on bank loans. Engoron determined in September that Trump committed fraud and ordered that all Trump’s New York business certificates be canceled, making it nearly impossible to do business in the state and effectively killing the Trump Organization. The current trial is primarily just to determine how much Trump owes in damages.

West Virginia Bill Could Ban All Transgender People From Schools

The new bill classifies transgender people as “obscene matter.”

Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty Images

A West Virginia Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would classify transgender people as “obscene matter” and ban them from getting within 2,500 feet of a school.

Senate Bill 197, which was introduced Wednesday, prohibits obscene matter from being within 2,500 feet of a public school building or facility. Obscene materials are defined as something that is sexually explicit “in a patently offensive way” or something that “lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

The bill states that, for the sake of protecting children, obscenity also includes “any transvestite and/or transgender exposure, performances or display to any minor.”

Any school faculty or staff that allow obscene material within 2,500 feet of the school can face up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $500, or both. The bill, which was introduced by Republican state Senator Michael Azinger, makes no mention of how the new rules would affect transgender students.

Besides the obvious transphobia of the bill, which dehumanizes trans people by classifying them as “materials,” the measure would also dramatically increase the criminalization of trans people. Obscenity laws are hard to enforce, because definitions of obscenity still largely come down to individual interpretation. As a result, there will likely be more reports of obscenity, made by people who are either more conservative or just nervous about accidentally breaking the law.

Azinger’s bill, like many other Republican-backed measures curbing LGBTQ rights, is not intended to protect children or prevent public displays of indecency—or even necessarily stand up to legal challenges. The vaguely worded text is primarily meant to scare people.

This bill is the latest in West Virginia’s assault on trans rights. In March 2023, Governor Jim Justice signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for trans and nonbinary minors. Gender-affirming treatments such as hormone therapy and reversible puberty blockers are widely backed by the medical community and have been proven to decrease depression and suicidality in trans and nonbinary teens.